Michael Bledsoe, district commissioner for the Chief Cornstalk District of the Boy Scouts of America, said this morning that, after 52 years, the Buckskin Council is wanting to close the camp.
The meeting was held at 7 p.m. at the Boy Scout Camp Dining Hall. Buckskin Council President Art King and Scout Executive Jeff Purdy, from the Charleston office of the Buckskin Council, have been invited to attend to hear the public’s concerns over the possible closure of the camp.
“There is a proposal and they are either going to shut the Boy Scout camp down or they will give the people here the option of running it and paying the bills themselves if they want to keep it open,” Bledsoe said. “I don’t the particulars of how they would tie our hands, but I think it’s horrible. Everybody is upset over this. A lot of people have called me about it and say they are planning to attend the meeting.
“Scouting is a fantastic program. It teaches good morals and we still have God in our program. And, because of that, we can’t get federal funding. Scouting is a good, wholesome program that teaches the youth leadership skills.”
Bledsoe said the camp has been opened since 1952, after the land was donated by the Yawkey Heirs and Island Creek Coal Company. The camp is made up of nearly 900 acres of land and has facilities for scouting activities, such as a pool.
“It’s beautiful up there,” Bledsoe said. “We hold Camporees three times a year there, where troops get together and we put on programs, like canoeing, swimming, fishing and shooting instruction.”
Bledsoe, who is also a scout master, said the Chief Cornstalk District is a part of Buckskin Council in Charleston the Buckskin Council owns Boy Scout Camp at Garrett Fork.
“Up until 1990, Chief Cornstalk District was our own council for Logan, Mingo, Boone and Pike County, Ky.,” Bledsoe said. “Buckskin has continued to operate Camp Chief Logan. They’re either going to stop doing it or they’re going to want somebody else here to take over paying all the bills and raise the money and charge people to come into camp, whatever it takes to pay the bills. They say all their camps lose money and they want rid of them. My thought on this is this is a service for the Boy Scouts. It’s like a city park, to me. You put in a city park for the people and you don’t expect to make a profit on it. They say they can’t afford to keep losing money on these properties they own and they’re going to put it on our backs. When they merged with us, they took everything that our council had, our endowment money and everything else. We still raise thousands of dollars here for them through our district executive who works this area and he raises money for them all year long. But, it’s not enough to pay for all of those bills and his salaries, so they decided they are going to wash their hands of it.”